Monthly Archives: August 2010
Well, I’m back in Arabia and pretty pumped about life, though I’m in Syria instead of my beloved second home of Jordan. I did stop by Jordan for a few interludes – after spending a month in the states I came back to pick up students to go to India (many blog post quality stories from that for sure) and then stopped by again for another short period before making my next move up North one country… and even though I’m not in the region for all that long because I’m going back to the states at the end of the month for two weeks, there’s already so much that has happened in just a day and a half that I am itching to write about, so I figured I would start back up again.
THE POINT OF COMING TO SYRIA: I spent four years at UVA toiling over Arabic to come out with a frustratingly little functional language skills (I might do better analyzing a famous poem than asking for directions on how to cook a sheep) and then have spent the past year in an English speaking island located in a sea of people who speak better English than I speak Arabic (all year I would try to talk to people in Arabic only to have them respond in English, and less because I have bad Arabic but more because they have good English, from the gas station attendant to the supermarket cart collector)… so my Arabic, at a very incomplete stage with many gaps needing filling, has plateaued. I’m frustrated to say the least – which is the impetus for this trip 4 hours North to a place that is more conducive to learning Arabic.
THE PLAN WHILE I AM HERE: I am really excited about this and hope that it really propels my Arabic. I am taking 45 hours of one on one instruction over a course of about 2.5 weeks (which is intense, about 3 hours a day). It’s costing me some moo-lah, but I think it will be well worth it (and besides, I don’t have any babies or puppies to pay for yet, and DVDs are only $1.40 in Jordan, so it’s not like my salary has anywhere better to go). On top of the formal instruction, I will have ample opportunity to practice with people here who generally speak much less English than Jordanians (and a little bit more French – do you know your Middle Eastern colonial history?). Already, I stayed up until about 2:30 am exchanging proverbs and idiomatic expressions with the guy who worked at the hotel I stayed at for one night (in Arabic, when your leg falls asleep, it has ants all over it, cool!) and I keep seeing more opportunities like this pop up all around me.
So, basically, great decision for me and I’m totally pumped. I have so much to say already, but I will save it for other blog posts. Tomorrow, I’ll write about my accomodations…